Graphic Video Drives Home Dangers for Teens

Michael Pyper was racing home when he crashed in Oceanside

By Artie Ojeda and Michelle Wayland
|  Friday, Oct 2, 2009  |  Updated 10:34 AM PDT
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Graphic Video Drives Home Dangers for Teens

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Shattered windshield.

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Graphic Video Drives Home Dangers for Teens

It's a sobering statistic. Every year 5,000 teens are killed in traffic collisions, according to the CHP.
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It's a sobering statistic. Every year 5,000 teens are killed in traffic collisions, according to the CHP.

Last week, a 17-year old was killed in Oceanside after losing control of his car at 100-miles per hour. In Carlsbad, just a few miles away from last week’s tragedy, the CHP held a driver safety class for teens and their parents Thursday night.

With graphic video of real fatal accidents, there is nothing subtle about the program. The class is called "Start Smart". It targets 15-to 20-year olds teens who are just beginning to get behind the wheel -- like Caitlin Hurst.

“I don't want to be that person in that car who gets in that crash, which is why I came,” the 15-year-old said.

The class carries a certain urgency, held less than a week after a 17-year old Michael Pyper was racing home at excessive speeds from a Rancho Buena Vista football game and lost control of his car, according to the Medical Examiner's office.

“They don't know, they don't understand, and this young man had no clue what he was getting himself into,” CHP officer Eric Newbury said.

The class includes those things you might expect, like a mock field sobriety test and then the same test with so-called “DUI goggles”.   

The teens had fun Thursday night trying the goggles out, but the laughs turn to sobering silence once the video was played -- showing the bodies of teenagers killed in car accidents.

“I kind of had to look away for some parts. It was not the prettiest thing. But it was reality. It happens,” Hurst said.

“I thought it was excellent. Everybody should come, every parent should see it, every child should come and see it,” Parent Gail Hurst said.

The teacher, officer Newbury, spoke with a certain passion Thursday night. He told the class that his own father was killed by a drunk driver.

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